CHURCH OF SANTA BALBINA26/03/2020, 12:53
#atourguiderome, #unaguidaturisticaroma, #romeisus, #rome, #roma, #guidedtour, #tour, #aventino, #medioevo, #middleages, #mosaico, #tomba, #santabalbina
A small and unknown church at the Aventine Hill, with several medieval surprises inside...
The Church of Santa Balbina, a Christian martyr of the II century AD, is not known and it is completely off the beaten path. It is set at the #Aventine hill, not so far from the huge remains of the Baths of #Caracalla. From the entrance of this church, looking between the leaves of the Roman pines, you can see some massive ancient walls, that ones of the majestic Roman baths. But now it’s time to speak about the Church of Santa Balbina! The first document where we can read this name is date back to the 595 AD, but probably the first Christian sacred place was erected before, around the end of the V century AD. The only proble of this nice church is its position, because as I told you before it is located at the Palatine Hill. But this natural hill is off the city centre, outside the walls of #Rome. It is the reason why over the centuries it was sacked several times and, of course, it was also rebuilt and restored several times! #Pope Leone III, at the IX century AD, commissioned some restorations, as the Marco Balbo, the powerful brother of the Pope Paul II, who at the 1449 restored the ceiling (and still today there’s an inscription on the wooden ceiling remembering that). But the Church of Santa Bibiana was also restored three, two and one centuries ago! The main age represented here is the #Middleages! First of all the portico, just above the entrane. It is always closed by iron gates, but you should not how in the portico are displayed several pieces: a capital with an inscription dedicated to the Pope Sixtus V, a "tabula lusoria" (a sort of ancient Roman board game carved on the floors or walls), Roman vases or some elements of the medieval church. The entry is through a door located along the right nave. Before to reach the entrance you will be in a small garden where you can see the buildings of the monastery of Santa Margherita, that is related to the church. Standind here you can see a medieval tower with battlements, used in the past to defense this place. But now let’s go inside, where you will be surrounded by a nice and peacefull atmosphere! Several things are remarkable, like the chair, used by the bishops, with its caracteristics colourful medieval decorations. Or the "schola cantorum", marble made, that is the corral that you can see in the middle. All the medieval churches had this architectonical element, that was used to phisically divide the clergy by the believers. Moreover let’s go to the entrance, walking along the left nave: you will find a marble crucified Christ probably made by the school of Masolino da Fiesole, one of the main artists of the XV century. Reaching the entrance you will also find a nice monumental tomb, with a marble sleeping man at the top. It is a tomb fromm the 1303 made by Giovanni da Cosma and dedicated to the Cardinal Stefano de Surdis (this tomb stood in the first St Peter Basilica, because its renaissance restoration). But try also to look down, looking at the white and black ancient Roman mosaics on the floor. They are original from the Roman Age, and they were found at the 20’s of the last century during the excavations of the Roman Forum. Maybe to make more famous the church, maybe to preserve better them, the mosaics were moved here! And now the last surprise, that is related to a legend that we can read on some medieval stories named "Mirabilia". It is the history of a candelabra:"During the ancient times, in front of the church there was acandelabra, made of a burning and inexinguishable stone. The whole candelabra burnt, but it was not shabby by the arcane fire: the air powered its stamina, and next to it there was a statue depicting an archer, ready to fire his arrow. But there was a intimidaating Etruscan inscription that said "If somebody will touch me I will wound". Many centuries went on but one day a stupid touched the fatal arrow and the fire was not alive anymore". So, do you see how many nice things in one place? #unaguidaturisticaroma #atourguiderome #romeisus #rome #roma #medieval #middleages #marble